Most of my energies have gone lately to promoting Night Kill, the first in the Iris Oakley "zoo-dunnit" series. I took a break and read The World without Us by Alan Weisman, a fascinating account of what might happen to plant Earth if we humans suddenly vanished. He works through what would soon return to natural conditions (and why that might not be what you expect, given invasive species and global warming) and what just won't. Oil refineries and nuclear power plants aren't going to be pretty for a long, long time. He describes human effects on air, water, and land in dismaying detail.
I also attended a ceremony today in Vancouver, Washington, opening one of the sites of the Confluence Project (http://www.confluenceproject.org/), public art along the Lewis & Clark trail. Sam Green, poet laureate of the state of Washington, read a poem titled What We Carry On The Trail that ends:
Like Lewis, like Clark, we have set our feet
on a bridge into the future, intending to arrive
with everything we've come to love--including
the brown pelican, Kincaid's lupine,
Fender's blue butterfly. We teach our children
each step is a name that matters.
We have traveled a long, long way & are traveling
still. We carry the cost of failure, the lengthening list
of what is gone already, of all that might be lost, knowing
what we have to do, believing that we will.
(quoted with permission http://www.arts.wa.gov/projects/poet-laureate.shtml)
Which all leads me to this question: don't we need a lot fewer of us, so that other lives can survive? Logic leads me toward an international one-child per woman strategy, despite the multitude of ugly issues around that. Not Chinese-style coercion, not just birth control for "those people", instead some undefined, improbable miracle of realization around the world that we will all live better with fewer of us. Mind you, I crave grandchildren and bore two children myself. I am aware of how very hard this is. What alternatives are there? Hint: it's not recycling plastic bags.
Let me know your thoughts.